Defining Cost-Effective Salinity Control Programs

by Robert G. Evans, (M.ASCE), Asst. Agricultural Engr.; Washington State Univ., Irrigation Agr. Research and Extension Center, Prosser, Wash. 99350,
Wynn R. Walker, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Agricultural and Irrigation Engrg. Dept., Utah State Univ., Logan, Utah 84322,
Gaylord V. Skogerboe, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Dept. of Agricultural and Chemical Engrg., Colorado State Univ., Ft. Collins, Colo. 80523,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 4, Pg. 265-272

Document Type: Journal Paper


Marginal cost analysis based on current damage estimates indicate that the optimal salinity control program involving PL 93-320 projects in the Upper Colorado River Basin would cost about $30 million annually and prevent about 1.2 million metric tons of salt per year from entering the Colorado River System. This optimal program is based on equating the annual costs of salinity control in the Upper Basin with annual salinity related damages in the Lower Basin. The results show that maintenance of the 1972 salinity concentration levels at Imperial Dam, dictated by PL 93-320, cannot be achieved cost-effectively with PL 93-320 salinity control projects. Although it is perhaps politically unfeasible, salinity concentration goals at Imperial Dam could be allowed to rise over the 1972 figures by as much as 180 mg/L in order to make the benefits of salinity control in the basin more in line with the anticipated costs.

Subject Headings: Basins | Construction costs | Financial management | Salinity | Dams | Rivers and streams | Metric systems | Salts | Colorado River

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